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Historic Scotland membership

We spent ten days in Scotland in May, In advance we joined Historic Scotland. While they offer an Explorer Pass, we thought the annual membership, not much more (currently about $100 for a senior couple and $125 for others) was worth it. Allow at least a month for the membership cards to be mailed to the US, but you will have a membership number shortly after you join. That allows you to reserve timed admission tickets in advance at no charge, using the Historic Scotland app. Perhaps more importantly, when we went to the half dozen Historic Scotland sights we visited (Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Iona Abbey, St. Andrews), no staff member wanted to see our timed admissions tickets - just our membership card. Seems like, at least in mid-May, there may not have been any real need to reserve tickets in advance if you had a membership card.

Posted by
6590 posts

I was in Scotland in May as well, and also purchased a Historic Scotland membership. However, I waited until I was there as I did not want to pay the extra fee for mailing.

It worked out very well. The first HS property I went to was Stirling Castle. I was able to reserve a time online by just using the HS membership option, so there was no need to pay. I got an email confirming the timed ticket, then I showed up at Stirling Castle at that time, told them I wanted to purchase a senior membership and they took care of it right there.

ETA: I do agree that with the membership in May, no one really asked for a timed ticket, even at Edinburgh Castle. In fact I got there an hour early and started to say I was early but after looking at my membership ticket, they just waved me in.

Posted by
4154 posts

The website still suggests to book ahead to guarantee entry, which we did for our visit last year, but we arrived an hour or so early and were waved right in.

One bonus for us with the pass is that we visited England a few months later and were able to use the pass at English Heritage sites such as Stonehenge, Dover and Battle Abbey.

Posted by
6590 posts

Allan, I'm heading to England in March and April of next year, and since I bought the HS membership in May of 2023, it will still be good while I'm there next year. Although I think I am also going to get the Royal Oak membership so that I can access National Trust properties.